Port unveils its best
Port Adelaide returned to its winning form with a scintillating 57-point victory in the Showdown. However, Dave Lloyd asks it a continuation of its yo-yo form.
Port Adelaide brought out the Jekyll on Saturday night, leaving the Hyde at home, just where he belongs…
This Port supporter (like most of us) gets a read pretty early on which side has shown up and the first two minutes of Saturday afternoon were pretty positive.
Port had the first 13 disposals of the game (at 100% efficiency, no less) and the first major on the board on the back of some strong work inside by the very late inclusion Sam Powell-Pepper, Robbie Gray and Ollie Wines, two of those three under serious pressure and they all started well as Ryan Burton ran some over lap from the back half for the first goal of the night.
Things settled over the next 30 minutes and while Port had two more on the board through Ebert and Howard the momentum was in Adelaide’s favour.
Nine scoring shots to four and Adelaide would be ruing some wasted opportunities.
More worrying for Port Adelaide, Scott Lycett looked to have copped a medial/PCL type blow to his knee and was off undergoing some treatment.
It was Adelaide on top to start the second quarter, Matt Crouch is up to double figures and goals, Greenwood goals, Adelaide are winning the clearances 9-2 and inside 50s 4-0 for the quarter.
A steadier from Sam Gray came at just the right time for Port, one more and a three-goal lead would have Adelaide well on top.
Greenwood is lighting up the Oval, he’s on top inside and out and has Adelaide’s midfield controlling the contest.
Another injury concern as Talia limps off, this leaves Keath on Dixon who makes the most of this to mark, ruffle some feathers and goal.
It should be noted here Talia had Dixon’s measure most of the night but the rest of Port’s forwards were chipping in, especially with pressure on the ball carrier and that resulted in an Ebert goal just before the main break.
It was reward for his effort and a three-point lead to Port.
Six scoring shots to Adelaide and four to Port for the quarter, at this point I wasn’t super confident of what lay ahead.
Lycett has returned but looks hobbled at best, cooling down at half-time might not be ideal.
That lack of confidence didn’t change early as Walker shrugged Clurey off for one of the only times on the night to goal inside 15 seconds of the third.
No sooner has the ball gone back to the middle and it’s back in Walker’s hands for a set shot from just on 50, he hits a low wobbler and misses to the right.
From here on Adelaide don’t score again until the 17 minute mark of the last quarter with a poster to Wayne Milera.
I quite enjoyed the next 45 minutes or so.
In that time, Port had absolutely smashed the Adelaide side into submission.
The third quarter was a demolition, Port kick six goals in 20 minutes.
In that time Scott Lycett gives all earthmoving machinery some hope as he wheels around O’Brien (and Brown who was spectating, perhaps in awe) to goal and cancel out Walker’s early major.
Matt Crouch whipped out his card (no cash at AO, please) and purchased some candy from Sam Gray, Connor Rozee waved to the scoreboard pocket faithful (twice) as they ponder why Betts wasn’t on the field (what’s that, he was? Well I’ll be) as Westhoff and Howard chime in and Port are 35 points for the good at three-quarter-time.
Excellent, with a 21st to go to, I know now that I can enjoy my night out thanks in no small part to Robbie Gray who has taken control in the midfield.
He’s a pleasure to watch, I hope all footy fans appreciate him as much as they should.
Third quarter numbers were staggering – Port +56 possessions, +45 uncontested, +9 contested, +6 tackles, +4 clearances, +13 I50’s and 11 scoring shots to two.
The game was, at this point, put to bed, it would have been nice if Duursma, Amon and Wines had all kicked truly to start the last instead of registering minor scores, but nonetheless Adelaide didn’t look like scoring.
Clurey closed Walker right out of the contest bar 30 seconds to start the third quarter, Jonas had no issues keeping Jenkins out of the game, he was doing that ever so well himself, Burton made Betts look old and slow and Bonner, Byrne-Jones and Hartlett were all creating over lap and run as they set up being the ball.
This is where Port won the contest by locking down our defensive zone and not allowing Adelaide any link up from their backs to mids to forwards.
Domination from one end to the other.
Port had the first 10 inside 50s of the last quarter and at the nine-minute mark had 96 per cent of the possession in its forward half.
I’ll be honest, I opened another beer about now.
Icing, or, Butters on the cake as young Zac leads Laird a merry dance and three bounces his way into an open goal to finish the Crows off and the Oval empties out.
3.6 in the last quarter to two behinds, the 57-point margin could have been so much more.
I’m greedy, I would have liked more.
Cudos to co-captain Wines who came in under some pressure, 34 touches at 76% answered the critics, the Pig racked up 36, Powell-Pepper made the most of his late call up with 24 but really set the standard for attack on the ball early with a game-high six tackles, Westhoff’s 23 touches, game-high 16 marks and a goal an outstanding return to form, Bonner’s run and overlap from half back was crucial, Ebert’s pressure on the ball carrier and efforts in the air were top shelf yet there was really no other who deserved BOG than Robbie Gray.
35 disposals, 10 clearances and his 5th Showdown Medal.
Dave’s best – R. Gray, Clurey, Bonner, Westhoff, Ebert, Byrne-Jones, Rockliff, Wines.